skip to main content

Title: Understanding Polarized Dust Emission from ρ Ophiuchi A in Light of Grain Alignment and Disruption by Radiative Torques
Abstract The alignment of dust grains with the ambient magnetic field produces polarization of starlight as well as thermal dust emission. Using the archival SOFIA/HAWC+ polarimetric data observed toward the ρ Ophiuchus (Oph) A cloud hosted by a B star at 89 and 154 μ m, we find that the fractional polarization of thermal dust emission first increases with the grain temperature and then decreases once the grain temperature exceeds ≃25–32 K. The latter trend differs from the prediction of the popular RAdiative Torques (RATs) alignment theory, which implies a monotonic increase of the polarization fraction with the grain temperature. We perform numerical modeling of polarized dust emission for the ρ Oph-A cloud and calculate the degree of dust polarization by simultaneously considering the dust grain alignment and rotational disruption by RATs. Our modeling results could successfully reproduce both the rising and declining trends of the observational data. Moreover, we show that the alignment of only silicate grains or a mixture of silicate–carbon grains within a composite structure can reproduce the observational trends, assuming that all dust grains follow a power-law size distribution. Although there are a number of simplifications and limitations to our modeling, our results suggest grains in more » the ρ Oph-A cloud have a composite structure, and the grain size distribution has a steeper slope than the standard size distribution for the interstellar medium. Combination of SOFIA/HAWC+ data with JCMT observations 450 and 850  μ m would be useful to test the proposed scenario based on grain alignment and disruption by RATs. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1715867
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10310518
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Volume:
906
Issue:
2
ISSN:
0004-637X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract Located in the Large Magellanic Cloud and mostly irradiated by the massive star cluster R136, 30 Doradus is an ideal target to test the leading theory of grain alignment and rotational disruption by RAdiative Torques (RATs). Here, we use publicly available polarized thermal dust emission observations of 30 Doradus at 89, 154, and 214 μ m using SOFIA/HAWC+. We analyze the variation of the dust polarization degree ( p ) with the total emission intensity ( I ), the dust temperature ( T d ), and the gas column density ( N H ) constructed from Herschel data. The 30 Doradus complex is divided into two main regions relative to R136, namely North and South. In the North, we find that the polarization degree first decreases and then increases before decreasing again when the dust temperature increases toward the irradiating cluster R136. The first depolarization likely arises from the decrease in grain alignment efficiency toward the dense medium due to the attenuation of the interstellar radiation field and the increase in the gas density. The second trend (the increase of p with T d ) is consistent with the RAT alignment theory. The final trend (the decrease of pmore »with T d ) is consistent with the RAT alignment theory only when the grain rotational disruption by RATs is taken into account. In the South, we find that the polarization degree is nearly independent of the dust temperature, while the grain alignment efficiency is higher around the peak of the gas column density and decreases toward the radiation source. The latter feature is also consistent with the prediction of rotational disruption by RATs.« less
  2. ABSTRACT

    Polarized dust emission is a key tracer in the study of interstellar medium and of star formation. The observed polarization, however, is a product of magnetic field structure, dust grain properties, and grain alignment efficiency, as well as their variations in the line of sight, making it difficult to interpret polarization unambiguously. The comparison of polarimetry at multiple wavelengths is a possible way of mitigating this problem. We use data from HAWC+ /SOFIA and from SCUBA-2/POL-2 (from the BISTRO survey) to analyse the NGC 2071 molecular cloud at 154, 214, and 850 $\mu$m. The polarization angle changes significantly with wavelength over part of NGC 2071, suggesting a change in magnetic field morphology on the line of sight as each wavelength best traces different dust populations. Other possible explanations are the existence of more than one polarization mechanism in the cloud or scattering from very large grains. The observed change of polarization fraction with wavelength, and the 214-to-154 $\mu$m polarization ratio in particular, are difficult to reproduce with current dust models under the assumption of uniform alignment efficiency. We also show that the standard procedure of using monochromatic intensity as a proxy for column density may produce spurious results at HAWC+wavelengths.more »Using both long-wavelength (POL-2, 850 $\mu$m) and short-wavelength (HAWC+, $\lesssim 200\, \mu$m) polarimetry is key in obtaining these results. This study clearly shows the importance of multi-wavelength polarimetry at submillimetre bands to understand the dust properties of molecular clouds and the relationship between magnetic field and star formation.

    « less
  3. Abstract We present 870 μ m Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array polarization observations of thermal dust emission from the iconic, edge-on debris disk β Pic. While the spatially resolved map does not exhibit detectable polarized dust emission, we detect polarization at the ∼3 σ level when averaging the emission across the entire disk. The corresponding polarization fraction is P frac = 0.51% ± 0.19%. The polarization position angle χ is aligned with the minor axis of the disk, as expected from models of dust grains aligned via radiative alignment torques (RAT) with respect to a toroidal magnetic field ( B -RAT) or with respect to the anisotropy in the radiation field ( k -RAT). When averaging the polarized emission across the outer versus inner thirds of the disk, we find that the polarization arises primarily from the SW third. We perform synthetic observations assuming grain alignment via both k -RAT and B -RAT. Both models produce polarization fractions close to our observed value when the emission is averaged across the entire disk. When we average the models in the inner versus outer thirds of the disk, we find that k -RAT is the likely mechanism producing the polarized emission in βmore »Pic. A comparison of timescales relevant to grain alignment also yields the same conclusion. For dust grains with realistic aspect ratios (i.e., s > 1.1), our models imply low grain-alignment efficiencies.« less
  4. ABSTRACT We present ALMA Band 7 polarization observations of the OMC-1 region of the Orion molecular cloud. We find that the polarization pattern observed in the region is likely to have been significantly altered by the radiation field of the >104 L⊙ high-mass protostar Orion Source I. In the protostar’s optically thick disc, polarization is likely to arise from dust self-scattering. In material to the south of Source I – previously identified as a region of ‘anomalous’ polarization emission – we observe a polarization geometry concentric around Source I. We demonstrate that Source I’s extreme luminosity may be sufficient to make the radiative precession time-scale shorter than the Larmor time-scale for moderately large grains ($\gt 0.005\!-\!0.1\, \mu$m), causing them to precess around the radiation anisotropy vector (k-RATs) rather than the magnetic field direction (B-RATs). This requires relatively unobscured emission from Source I, supporting the hypothesis that emission in this region arises from the cavity wall of the Source I outflow. This is one of the first times that evidence for k-RAT alignment has been found outside of a protostellar disc or AGB star envelope. Alternatively, the grains may remain aligned by B-RATs and trace gas infall on to the Main Ridge.more »Elsewhere, we largely find the magnetic field geometry to be radial around the BN/KL explosion centre, consistent with previous observations. However, in the Main Ridge, the magnetic field geometry appears to remain consistent with the larger-scale magnetic field, perhaps indicative of the ability of the dense Ridge to resist disruption by the BN/KL explosion.« less
  5. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Polarized dust continuum emission has been observed with Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in an increasing number of deeply embedded protostellar systems. It generally shows a sharp transition going from the protostellar envelope to the disc scale, with the polarization fraction typically dropping from ${\sim } 5{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ to ${\sim } 1{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ and the inferred magnetic field orientations becoming more aligned with the major axis of the system. We quantitatively investigate these observational trends using a sample of protostars in the Perseus molecular cloud and compare these features with a non-ideal magnetohydrodynamic disc formation simulation. We find that the gas density increases faster than the magnetic field strength in the transition from the envelope to the disc scale, which makes it more difficult to magnetically align the grains on the disc scale. Specifically, to produce the observed ${\sim } 1{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ polarization at ${\sim } 100\, \mathrm{au}$ scale via grains aligned with the B-field, even relatively small grains of $1\, \mathrm{\mu m}$ in size need to have their magnetic susceptibilities significantly enhanced (by a factor of ∼20) over the standard value, potentially through superparamagnetic inclusions. This requirement is more stringent for larger grains,more »with the enhancement factor increasing linearly with the grain size, reaching ∼2 × 104 for millimetre-sized grains. Even if the required enhancement can be achieved, the resulting inferred magnetic field orientation in the simulation does not show a preference for the major axis, which is inconsistent with the observed pattern. We thus conclude that the observed trends are best described by the model where the polarization on the envelope scale is dominated by magnetically aligned grains and that on the disc scale by scattering.« less